Harriet Kunhardt married Felix Whitman Knauth on June 16, 1923 at St. Paul's Church in North Andover. Felix was the son of Percival Knauth.
Name: Felix W. Knauth
State of Issue: New York
Date of Birth: Monday June 10, 1895
Date of Death: Wednesday November 17, 1993
Est. Age at Death: 98 years, 5 months, 7 days
Last known residence:
City: Belvedere Tiburon; Belvedere; Tiburon
Following is the obituary of their son, Felix, who died in 2010. His obituary is quite inspiring.
Felix Knauth - A life-long love of sailing
Daily News, The (Palo Alto, CA) - Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Felix Knauth was a polio survivor who spent weeks as a child in an iron lung and wore a leg brace his entire life that never slowed him down.
He was an adventurer who climbed granite walls in Yosemite and led treks through Pakistan. He was a humanitarian who worked for the Peace Corps and helped found Oxfam America, an international aid organization. He was a father and grandfather, a Stanford University graduate, and a Campbell High School teacher who inspired young people to challenge their minds and fight for their beliefs.
But Knauth probably would have described himself first of all as a sailor, for it was on the water that he felt most at home. And, perhaps fittingly, it was on the water that he died.
On May 12, at age 80, Knauth set out alone from Monterey harbor for San Simeon on his 22-foot sloop, the Rose. Having sailed across the Atlantic and many times up and down the California coast, he was confident about the trip.
But somewhere along the way Knauth hit bad weather and sent out a mayday call. Two days later a cruise ship spotted the Rose drifting about 35 miles west of Pismo Beach. Its sails were shredded, and its boom was broken. Knauth was nowhere to be found.
"What can I say? He loved sailing," his son, Rick, told me. "If we had said, 'Dad, you are going to die on that boat,' he would have gone anyway."
Knauth was born in Roxbury, Mass., in 1929. At age 5, he contracted a severe case of polio and was placed in a terminal ward, where he watched the children around him die. But Felix was a tough little boy who was to grow into a strong, determined man.
Moving without effort
When he was 10, his mother took him to a sailing camp. A counselor picked him up, heavy braces and all, and set him down alone in a small sailboat. It was like landing in heaven.
"As the breeze caught the sail we (the little boat and I) moved away from the dock," he wrote years later in a memoir. "I can still recall the thrill that swept through me — I was moving without any effort, no struggle with braces and crutches, no hurts, no fear of falling down, simply moving smoothly along over the water. It was total love."
In 1949, Knauth came west to attend Stanford, where he received a bachelor of arts in English and history and an master's in education. He taught at Campbell High School, where students felt his charisma. One of those students was Gareth Penn.
"I guess I had sort of a hero-worship-type crush on him," recalled Penn, a librarian in Seattle who named his son Felix.
A superb teacher, Knauth didn't rely on out-of-date textbooks but prepared his own lectures and encouraged the students to think for themselves. He also relentlessly badgered the administration to create an honors English class for juniors.
Penn recalled that the class eventually was created, but in what seemed like a slap in the face, Knauth wasn't assigned to teach it. Instead he was given the lowest level English class. So Penn and some of the other honor students demanded to be transferred into Knauth's class, with the jocks and juvenile delinquents.
"It turned out to be a great class," he said. "I read everything William Faulkner wrote."
Knauth, an avid rock climber, took a few of his students on a camping trip to Yosemite, where he frightened a bear away from the campsite.
"He wasn't afraid of anything," Penn said, "not even bears."
No doubt a man who beat long odds, survived polio and found the courage to learn to walk and run again would be brave enough to stand up to a foraging black bear — or whatever stood in his path.
"He did not simply overcome the traumas of polio," his son said, "but embraced them as the source of a drive and ambition that led him to cover, on foot or by boat, large swaths of the planet."
After a long career with the Peace Corps and other nonprofit agencies, Knauth was living in Houston, in a cottage behind his son's home, when the sailing bug bit him again.
"Not for one moment am I complaining about my circumstances here," he wrote last year. "I am so fortunate not to be stuck in a dreary trailer park somewhere. What I have found is that I am not yet ready to call this the last stop — not quite yet anyway — as long as sailing 'where the wind blows' is a possibility."
So last month, he came back to California, bought a boat and set out on his last journey.
"We don't know where that journey ends," his son said. "His Rose continues to drift unmanned in the waters of the Pacific."
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